Town Development Trend
The country is experiencing a speedy growth of urban population past three decades . The estimated average urban growth rate is 3 percent per year during 2005 -2015 while annual population growth rate will be less than 1.2 percent. The present urban population should be around 30 percent and more than half of the country’s population will be living in urban cities by the year 2016. The pace and magnitude of this urbanization means that the policies and strategies should be in place to ensure sustainable urban development and to minimize growing poverty in cities, improve accessibility to basic facilities for the urban poor. Western Province is experiencing heavy urban concentration creating imbalance in economic growth in the country.
Urban, City, or Town planning is the discipline of land use planning which deals with the physical, social, and economic development of metropolitan regions, municipalities and neighborhoods. Other professions deal in more detail with a smaller scale of development, namely architecture, landscape architecture and urban design. Regional planning deals with a still larger environment, at a less detailed level.
Successful urban planning considers character, of "home" and "sense of place", local identity, respect for natural, artistic and historic heritage, an understanding of the "urban grain" or "townscape," pedestrians and other modes of traffic, utilities and natural hazards, such as flood zones.
City Planning History Sri Lanka
In 1948, the Government invited Sir Patrick Abecrombie to prepare a regional plan for Colombo and its surrounding region covering an area of 220 square miles. The region included the capital city, the adjoining built-up urban area and a considerable extent of rural country in the periphery.
Abercombie’s Regional Plan and his proposal for the development of the Colombo Metropolitan area were subsequently amended according to the decisions of the Central Planning Commission in 1957, to carry out the planned development of satellite towns within the region in order to accommodate the overspill of the people from crowded city area. It was felt that Abecrombie’s plan was not adequate to accommodate the rapid changes taking place in the urban areas, especially in Colombo and its surrounding sub urban areas. The Government sought UNDP assistance to mitigate the perceived problems. This was the beginning of a build up of a consensus on the necessity of a Master Plan for Colombo and it’s environs.
The Master Plan for the Colombo Metropolitan Region of 1978 consisted of two interrelated documents, namely the Colombo Metropolitan Regional Structure Plan and the Colombo Urban Area Plan. The Colombo Master Plan Project, which pursued a balanced regional development strategy, covered the Colombo District including the area now classified as Gampaha District and part of Kalutara District.
The establishment of the Urban Development Authority as a planning organisation was also a direct outcome of the Colombo Master Plan. The City of Colombo Development Plan was prepared and gazetted by the Urban Development Authority in 1985 and it enabled the UDA to implement zoning and building regulations
A review of urban development since the publication of the Colombo Master Plan shows that several significant planned developments have taken place. These include the Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Parliamentary Complex, the Superior Courts Complex and the Biyagama and Katunayaka Free Trade Zones. The development that has taken place during the last twenty years has significantly changed the urban environment in and around Colombo.
The decision to prepare a new structure plan for the Colombo Metropolitan Region was greatly influenced by the changes during the last twenty years. All aspects of the region, such as infrastructure, transport, health, education, industry, housing and agriculture have been taken into account. The proposed strategies for physical formations are aimed at making the City of Colombo more orderly and environmentally friendly and yet highly dynamic and economically diverse. The strategy of the CMR Plan is to utilise this natural layout by making further improvements for sustainable development through the application of appropriate environmental and physical planning strategies.
The new Structure Plan addresses strategies for the Core Area, Growth Centres, Industrial Townships, other Urban Centres and the Physical formation of the future CMR. In developing these strategies, the various demands for lands that arise from population increase, expansion of industrial activities, growth in commercial and service sectors and the need to preserve the fast dwindling environmentally sensitive lands have been taken into consideration.
The new Structure Plan also proposes zoning and building density regulations for the CMR. The objective of introducing these regulations is to ensure that future urban development conforms to environmentally and aesthetically acceptable standards
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